Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Time to Move On. . . .

Stop # 13 Notes

Just realized why I had so much trouble when I got here - it was my lucky Stop #13!

A nice rainy day to get little stuff taken care of, though didn’t get cleaning done. Got laundry done though. Kinda missing the kids, so called son in NM and he’s doing good; daughter was working Monday night so will call her Tuesday night. What would I do without a cell phone?

Tuesday, weather wise proved to be a better day to go somewhere; so, I took off to Clear Lake to the Surf Ballroom to see the stage where Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and The Big Bopper Richardson performed for the last time on February 2, 1959
. All 3 and their pilot, were killed in a plane crash the next day. THAT was the day the music died. The place is not really that big, compared to today's standards, but WOW the memories, especially in the Rock ‘n Roll Museum with all the pictures
of those years when growing up; and, today's C&W’s, etc. Lots of stuff on the 3 gentlemen of yesteryear too including some Big Bands.

I got my picture taken up on the same stage.

The really enthusiastic lady in the gift shop told me that I shouldn’t miss a trip to Mason City and The Music Man Square. So with her enthusiasm I drove just 10 miles down the road, thinking I’d stay just an hour. HA I took the tour through his boyhood home and learned a lot about his family and him - sounded a lot like some of today’s families. His father left his mother when Meredith Willson was quite young for a younger woman and ended up moving in a Willson property behind the house where his mother currently lived. Ouch! Meredith himself was married 3 times. The house is an event in itself and worth the tour. Music Man Square is a replica of “River City”

from the movie and interesting to walk up and down looking at things. The museum inside took a long time to go through and is very interesting with a lot of “touch” screens. I had to buy a Music Man T-Shirt as well as I did at the Surf Ballroom.

So with that educating day under my belt, I didn’t get back to the campsite to do really much prep work and cleaning, which needed to be done; so, stuck my $12 in an envelop to spend another night and leave Thursday morning. Wednesday, I did get some cleaning done and finished making my son’s birthday present and got it in the mail. He may get it before Sunday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON.

Oh, I did stop in the little town of Britt and took a picture of this:
No kidding there really is one - a national museum too.

I fixed a quick waffle for supper, worked on the slideshow for the trip to date and selected pictures to update Flickr. I talked to Ann about coming and she emailed me directions to get to their place in Sac City. It’ll be fun meeting another Casita couple. She’ll be busy with the Quilt Show over the weekend which I want to take in too, plus go out and see those Barn Quilts. After all, that’s one of the reasons I came to Iowa.

After leaving the Watson’s, I hope to head down to Red Oak - gee, I think I have a good friend born in that area - and especially see the little Swedish town of Stanton with their Teapot and Cup and Saucer Water Towers. From there will head over to Winterset to see The Bridges of Madison County.

Perfect evening on Smith Lake:
It’s a pretty place, but just too much traffic by the trailer, especially the way the Park is laid out. Oh, and don’t come when the Geese are here. The number of Canadian Geese has increased on the Lake since I arrived and some kind of “geese altercation” was taking place last night after dark. I don’t understand geesedom but it didn’t sound very friendly for the most part and it sounded like Lonesome Joe goose got kicked out of the flock was trying to find a friend. I did not get to sleep until 4:30 in the morning because they kept that awful honk, honk, honking of theirs up forEVER it seemed like. Be nice to find a lake WITHOUT geese!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stop #13 - A very popular Smith Park Campground, Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa

Friday was another one of those “shoulda” days. I shoulda just left the trailer hooked up to the truck and done it in the morning after a good night’s sleep! I only drove 135 miles yesterday, but it was the most tiring 135 miles I have driven in a long time. The highways I drove on were deplorable - even the US highways were deplorable. The constant bouncing between the truck and trailer (and I had the sway bar on) - you know that bouncy/rocky motion you get on concrete that’s been badly laid and has aged or pavement that is literally falling apart at the seams, plus keeping an eye on the traffic coming at me on roads that had no shoulder (at least no trucks with oversized loads - oh wait a minute, there were 4 or 5 of them, watching for farm implements as I came over the top of a hill, making sure I didn’t drop my wheels off the pavement onto the shoulder (when there was one), the glare off the road surface and all those horrible “zebra stripes” or “patchwork quilt” designs on the road surface created by filling of pavement/concrete cracks with tar. I traveled IA-10 from Hawarden to US-71, north to Spencer, east on US-18 to Algona. Even the new concrete surface west of Algona was “bouncy”. The speed limits on these roads are either 55 or 60 - I know why now. The ONLY good and decent highway I have been on in this State is the 5 miles from Algona to this Park on US-169! I am dreading leaving here.

As would have it, when I was unhitching I forgot to properly check the position of the jack cone I use. As the trailer hitch “popped” off the hitch ball, over went the jack cone and down onto the ground went the trailer hitch. I just stood there for 3 or 4 minutes and then said “Dumb ass. You knew you shoulda waited ‘til morning.”

Well, I dragged out my jack stands and my pneumatic or hydraulic jack, whatever it is and started raising up the trailer tongue from the ground by cranking the handle on the trailer jack. Just then Ryan, a Park Ranger came by. What such a nice young man he is. He finished getting the trailer tongue up enough, by cranking, to get my hydraulic jack under the “V” part so the cone could be put in place. Because the camp pads are crowned, which I pointed out to him, maybe okay for all those big rigs but didn’t work out for leveling my little rig, he suggested moving the trailer over a bit and reparking it. So I hooked up Eggie again and re-parked him and unhitched again and he stayed put.

I said after all that there was no way I was cooking supper, so took a shower and went to a Mexican restaurant and had a BIG margarita - I had something to eat too. I went to bed at 7:30 p and didn’t wake up until 7:30 a.m., stayed in bed and snoozed until 9:30 a.m.

Oh, this is homecoming weekend in Algona, but I didn’t know this until I was the last vehicle (with trailer) going down Main street in Algona (I didn’t see the lights flashing on the police cars about 3 blocks behind me until it was pointed out) and I noticed all these people lining the street. I asked someone at a red light what was going on and some one told me it was Homecoming. Of course, wise me said “Oh, I thought you knew I was coming to town so you threw me a parade.” Chuckle, chuckle.

Saturday night there was a big barbecue out here at the Park at the group shelter, for The Class of . . . or Classes of . . . , so traffic has been pretty heavy going by. And, they have speed bumps except they are the reverse of speed bumps - speed dips, very deep dips every - oh who knows but they are irregular and sometimes close together. They jar you worse than the bumps. Gosh, the folks are leaving already, it’s only been 90 minutes since they started piling in.

I spent a couple hours at a very interesting and professionally done museum in Algona called Camp Algona POW Museum. In the almost two years of it’s existence (in the mid-40;s), there were over 10,000 German prisoners here but not all at once, with the average monthly camp population at a little over 3,200. While I was there, elderly individuals came in to visit with classmates - they were part of the reunion - and here and there I would hear little stories of what it was like when they were youngsters here during the era of the Camp.

Afterwards, I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up some fresh fruit for supper. As I was getting into the truck, a young man asked me how I liked my Tundra and I told him it was the “best truck ever had.” He told me you don’t see too many around here and I said I noticed that right away when I entered Iowa - lots of Chevies. But all I see are Ford dealers. Oh, that’s right must have lost a lot of dealerships.

Here is a view from my campsite looking eastward -
. You can see the trees are starting to turn color. The ends of the bridge that go over a creek are interesting. At night the end is lit up - like a train engine coming at you.

Sunday took it easy, ran into town to get more of my blog posted. I’ll get some pictures posted to Flickr before I leave Wednesday morning. Tuesday, I plan on driving up to Clear Lake to see the memorial for The Big Bopper, Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly who where killed in a plane crash in 1959 after playing at the Surf Ballroom earlier that evening. (I just checked their web site and saw Clint Black is playing there on 10/2, ohhhhh, one of my favs)

Is Winter Going to Be a Long One?

Stop #12, A beautiful Sioux County Park called Oak Grove., near Hawarden Iowa

I left Ponca retracing some on NE 12 to NE-15/SD-19 to Vermillion SD. Got gas and a quick breakfast at Mickey Dee’s, stopped at Walmart to get some cash - and yes a few spools of ribbon and the wire size I like to work with - and a couple of grocery items. I spied a car wash leaving WM and gave the truck and trailer a good washing. I continued north on SD-19 to SD 46 and turned easterly. I thought I had seen corn and soybean fields in northern Nebraska, not like I saw coming through this part of South Dakota and into Iowa. The soybeans are turning yellow so you see many rolling hills of yellow and green and miles and miles of corn fields. Just not use to seeing such extensive corn fields. The further east I have gone, the hills are still rolling but not as high as in northern NE - gas mileage has gone down a bit what with the hills.

In Iowa, the road becomes IA-10 and I turned off on a County Road and followed the signs to the Park. It is $16 a night w/electricity and signs said nothing about a daily use permit fee. Whoopie.

I couldn’t make up my mind as to check out this County Park or go on past Orange City to another called Miller Creek. If other county parks in Iowa are as nice as this one, I will probably hit a lot of them. I was told by a Park camper that this is the 2nd campground site. The original was down by the Big Sioux River and got flooded just one too many times 8 years ago, so it was moved up on the hill. I drove down to where the old campground was and it is pretty there along the river (I forgot to get pictures). It is now for group gatherings and has shelters/tables. The Park also has 4 rather large cabins too and a tenting area. The signs directing one here call it a State Park, but it is the Sioux County Conservation Board in Hawarden IA that maintains it and I assume gets the revenue. Stayed 2 nights.

Thurs. morning saw more trailers coming in for the weekend, I assume. Gee showers were 25 cents for around 5 minutes and pop in the pop machine is 50 cents. Morning started out with fog and since I was on top of a hill I could look down on the fog in the valleys. You can hear traffic noise on IA-10, but it’s so far away.

I sat out last night even after the sun went down and NOT ONE mosquito bothered me, a few gnats and some of those ladybug “stinky beetles” (as a local calls them) flew around. I was hoping to see some deer but didn’t. Speaking of the “stinky beetles”, they are as thick as flies sometimes, they are attracted to white and at one time the side of the trailer was just crawling with them. The local said to not mash them as they leave a yellow stain and if you do they will stink. She said don’t wear a white shirt or they will be all over you. We have so few ladybugs at home, that I didn’t even consider them to be a pest, but treated them with “respect” so to speak, since they eat aphids. I guess the reason I was taught to treat ladybugs “with respect” is because my mom knew they stunk when mashed and left a yellow stain. I knew they were a beetle and my housemate said he remembered reading somewhere that they do stink if squashed. The local told me a story of how they had gotten in cracks and creases of the slideouts on their 5th wheel and when they showed up at their son’s place in southern Texas, they just flew out everywhere when the slide outs slid out, even despite cleaning them off before hand. Better check Eggie before I leave.

I shouldn’t have gone into that Dutch bakery when I was in Orange City (oh my, another Casita just pulled into the sight next to mine). Anyway, back to Orange City, I took the visitors tour of downtown (lots of street construction there) and learned about the many kinds of Dutch windmi -err Molens.

Orange City was named after William of Orange, the father of the Dutch nation. Henry Hospers, a leader of the 1870 Holland Settlers, plotted the settlement of Orange City. The Chamber of Commerce is located in a Dutch Windmill, with construction in 1972 by a local bank who wanted a structure that would represent the community’s heritage and hospitality and be used as a drive-in bank. Various structural issues needed to be addressed and finally in October of 1973, the drive-in bank opened its doors. In April of 2001 the Dutch Windmill opened as the Chamber and Visitors Center. It measures 52 feet from the ground to the dome and 76 feet from the ground to the top of the vane. Orange City is known for its Tulip Festival in May; and also, their high school band was invited to the Rose Parade several years ago and the band members all wore the Dutch wooden shoes (not this big though) and shuffled for 5 or 6 miles, as I remember the length I do remember a band that did wear wooden shoes. Boy, they must have practiced A LOT wearing those shoes.

In the Windmill Square, there were models
of the Standard Molen to grind corn; the Wipmolen and was used to drain polders; the

Paltrokmolen used to saw timber; the Tjaske; used to keep pasturelands dry but no longer used; the Poldermolen used also to drain the polders, often built in gangs of five with each lone lifting the water by three feet; the Stellingmolen, a tall structure that could catch the winds and didn’t need to be built on the outskirts of town - used to grind corn.

The lady at the Chamber told me that all the flowers you see in town will be dug up pretty soon (even though they are in beautiful bloom) to plant the tulips for next May’s Tulip Festival. Glad I caught all the beautiful flowers now. I drove around the older residential areas and very beautiful homes with gorgeous lawns and gardens. It was a breath of Spring in early Fall.

The architecture of the downtown businesses reflect the heritage of the community too: , even businesses outside the downtown Square:
, all their Welcome banners say “Welkom:
One definitely feels like they are in a Dutch community and community members have artfully incorporated the Dutch heritage into their own lives. Even the student apartments around Northwest University are neat, clean, and planted with lots of flowers.

Well, just have to go meet this Casita couple. They are Gus and Sharon from Ireton, Iowa
(just about 15 miles southeast of here). They bought their ‘97 Freedom a couple of years ago from a couple near Omaha. Thurs. night they had one grandson with them and Friday night they will have the other one. We, natch, had to Casita talk. I
encouraged them to become familiar with the two Casita forums as there are a number of folks with the late 90’s models they can chat with.

Here’s a picture of a wooly worm.

Do you think it’s going to be a short or long winter?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stop # 11 - Ponca State Park, Ponca NE

Had a nice easy drive, mostly, on NE 12 to the State Park.

Not a lot of happy campers coming into this Park from off the road, including me. Would have been nice to know at the Gate that this campground - both the First Come First Serve section and the reserved Section are full starting Wed night thru Sunday due to an activity going on in Ponca that draws over 30,000 visitors. And, I had planned on staying 2-3 nights here, probably eat a meal in town, get my hair trimmed, do some shopping in a couple of shops saw were interesting. Oh well, my bucks wouldn’t count much with the Expo going on. Apparently both sections of this Park are saved/reserved for some of the over 400 volunteers that are here to help out. I thought about volunteering to keep my spot until Sunday, but I have a “theme” on this trip - and SERENITY doesn’t fit in with hundreds or thousands of folks here for an Expo. Has something to do with Outdoors - there are sporting dog trials, archery contests, River activities, vendors and whatever. I won’t be around to partake. Shoulda stayed back at Niobrara one more night. Shoulda, shoulda. Oh, well will be in Iowa sooner and have scouted out a couple of locations, so will see what I can find up around Orange City Iowa.

Park isn’t my kind anyway. It’s too, too manicured. Though next year it will be nice for the summer campers up from the big cities to have water hookups for their site in the first come first serve section (already in the reserved section) woooo and the State can charge more. Hope they work on upgrading the showers some more next. They could put in those coin operated showers that Niobrara and Fort Robinson have. Now, I just hope I can find my way out of here tomorrow as you twist and turn quite a ways to get to the campgrounds. They are doing some earth moving and other work around here too - looks like a earth dam or another road. Must be some of that stimulus money again.

Okay, onward and eastward Wednesday.

Ah morning. The birds are singing, it’s starting to get light though be a bit before see any sun rays as the forest is so thick. River mustn’t be too far away as I hear the geese. Had my morning walk with short way to the restroom and long way back, coffee is brewing and am hungry. Yesterday, a big flock of turkeys walked thru the Park and squirrels were running everywhere gathering the horse chestnuts that were falling like crazy from the trees. For awhile, it’s all you could hear was the crashing of the nuts thru the tree limbs and brush and a big thud on the ground. There were several areas of the Park that would have been dangerous to walk around in! Not much color to the trees, but the leaves are littering the ground like it is Fall.

PS Finally had to throw out my soggy shredded cheese. It got wet when in the ice chest. And, my refrigerator is still working! No pictures as all you would see would be trees!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Aw, This is Nice

Stop #10 - Niobrara State Park, Niobrara Nebraska

Guess that bouncy part of US-281 in southern South Dakota was good for something (refrigerator working), not my back though, it was tired. Besides ‘bouncing” down the highway, had to dodge trucks that were carrying oversized loads. A large portion of I-90, in South Dakota, is under construction and anything over 10 feet wide is not allowed and must take an alternate route. Well, portions of I-94 in North Dakota are under construction and have the same width restrictions and somewhere in between these oversized loads find you and you are stuck with all these loads - farm equipment and combines (in middle of wheat harvest) in ND, oversized tires (23 of those trucks), some huge metal apparatus (6 of those), hugh wood roof tresses (4 of those) and whatever else came along - either at you or going in the same direction (and they weren’t going no 60 mph like I do). These weren’t all together either, very spread out. I never realized the Interstates carried so many oversized loads of material. Guess ‘cause I don’t drive them that much!

I forgot to mention that at Fort A. Lincoln campground the “little trailer people” came out to be seen. I met a very nice couple, with an old Burro or Bolo, from New York State who were returning home from a trip to Alaska. She said it was so much better than the trip she and her husband made back in the 40’s, so much better and easier. Also met a couple from Minnesota on their way to the Black Hills with their little original Teardrop. We had a good time talking.

This Park (Niobrara) is beautiful, just beautiful. So far, it is my favorite (as far as public campgrounds go) spot on this trip. Smith Falls comes in 2nd - way to go Nebraska State Parks. There are lots of hiking and horseback riding trails all over, an equestrian campground, lots of primitive tenting sites, cabins high on the bluffs, beautiful vistas overlooking the Niobrara River entering the Missouri. I am back to “serene” (well, almost except for the 3 camp pads next to me staying up after midnight night talking and laughing). I want to come back here again, especially in the Fall when the trees are really turning. I suspect the summers are a bit on the humid side.

This is the area of the Ponca and Santee Sioux tribes. I did stop and view the Fort Randall Military Post (here’s proof), only because I saw what looked like a large church on the Fort grounds and I was curious. And, yes, George was there too, but briefly. Sitting Bull was held here for a little over two years before being moved to Fort Yates, ND.
But, the church was really beautiful, especially for the materials and tools they had at the time. It was built in 1875 at a cost of approximately $20,000. it was abandoned in 1892, but through various group efforts overtime, has been preserved and the original tower’s bell found it’s way back home in the summer of 2004.

I went to have lunch in Niobrara and went to the Two Rivers Saloon. What an interesting place, with tin ceilings and lots of things retrieved from the 2nd Niobrara (the 1st was destroyed by fire and this site is the 3rd). It’s another one of those stories about moving the town when the dam was being built. The owner saved the “cage” from the old post office, part of a bar in a saloon, the tellers cage from a bank and a shuffle board table which is the top of the bar now. There are two windows at the front from a house or some luxurious structure. There is quite a collection of things inside to keep your eyes busy while waiting the delivery of a delicious meal. I had a very good Philly cheese steak sandwich. I might go and try the Prime Rib Sat nite. The owner, Troy, was very friendly and I enjoyed visiting with him before he went to fix my lunch.

Saturday, I did only one load of laundry as the sights and views kept pulling me to get in the truck and see them. I did and I was rewarded with beautiful sights. Both rivers are lazy here covering quite a bit of ground as they are spread out and work their way southeastward.
I took the scenic drive that the State Park has established around the Park. I stopped and went ohhhhhd and awwwwwd and took lots of pictures - most you can see in Flickr (to be entered later). I encountered these little critters and momsie and popsie weren’t too happy with my closeness to kidsies.

I took short hikes and one was down to the old railroad bridge that crosses the Niobrara River just before it enters the Missouri. There are seats one can use on the bridge and I just sat there for the longest time listening to the swallow babies under the bridge and the water making it’s gurgling and movement sounds over the sand bars. That hike took me a bit longer to return on as it was pretty steep and the lungs were puffing a bit, but it was worth it. Treated myself to the delicious prime rib dinner at Two Rivers Saloon that night.

Sunday morning we all woke up to a thick, dense fog but fairly warm out at 57 degrees. I rolled over and slept until 8:30 a.m.! Unusual for me. Some pitctures of fog and cobwebs. The day was cleaning the trailer out, which is so easy in a little critter, finishing laundry, doing dishes and working on my ribbon wind socks. The Park pretty much emptied out by mid-afternoon and there were just a couple of us left. Oh, ran to the grocery store in town to pick up a few things for the refrig. Other than the above, I sat outside and watched the world go by and swatted flies. Oh, what is that saying when you see a woolly worm? I saw three Sunday.

There were some “roadside” sunflowers behind my trailer and in the morning and early evenings, they would be covered with golden finches and chickadees getting the seeds from the dried flower heads. Momma bird was there too feeding the many little babies. Was so relaxing to watch that chore they were doing. These beautiful red berries were loaded on the bush next to my sight:

Decided to stay one more night at Niorabra SP, got a message from the folks in Sac City they had to make a trip to Oberlin Ks due to a family situation, so not in any hurry to get there for about 10 days. Ann told me there is going to be a big quilt show in Sac City on the weekend of the 26th with over 400 entries, so that would be interesting to include in my things to see and do around Sac City. I’ll head to Ponca SP on Tues and stay 2 or 3 nights, then go on over to somewhere in Iowa. Decisions, decisions!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Glory be, I turned it on several hours after arriving here and put my hand over the top vent by the door and lordy it was very warm - first time have felt heat coming from that vent in a couple of weeks. Called my housemate at 10:30 pm and told him. He said maybe it was the bouncing on US-281 that bounced whatever back into place! Maybe so. Had to remove the non-refrig items that I was storing in there. Not totally trusting it so am slowly putting things back in.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dang, Can't Get my Prescriptions Filled in ND

Stop #7, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan ND

It’s not Christmas yet, is it? Made my last run to the restroom and this park looks like a neighborhood vying for the annual best light display! Sarah & Sherry, it is a OMG display! But the blinking heart is a bit out of sync with the icicle lights and the black trash bag octopus on top of the trailer with the flashing eye lights and waving legs in the wind is a bit - - oh, I don’t know, go to bed Emily. What was that word I was using to describe this area. . . . . .?

Stopped by the RV dealer and the problem is going to be more than what I wanted to spend time on getting solved at this point. So will wait until I get home and take it in. The drive north was easy, beautiful and “serene”. I stopped at several places to look at the miles and miles of sunflower fields with their heads turned toward the sun - in North Dakota. I stopped and looked at huge herds of buffalo. I stopped at Lisa’s to give her the ribbon wind socks and, hopefully, get some pictures of her and her kids together; but the kids had gone somewhere with their step-grandmother.

The country changed the further north I drove, with more bluffs and canyons. It turned into a wide river valley with lots of farming. The farms become more numerous and so do the towns. I want to go back to a little town of Huff as I saw a structure from the road that intrigued me. I think it is a church. Along the river, there are several areas where other forts and historical points are. And being a holiday weekend, more people were out and around and in campgrounds.

I got into Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park around noon (we are so close to the time zone, I keep forgetting what time I am on). It didn’t take long to get set up, fixed a light lunch then decided to do a little exploring in the afternoon. The Heart River joins the Missouri River right here. The campground is full, as you could imagine and spaces are pretty close together. There are lots of families here having a good time. Mine fortunately, is on the outside of the loop and a bit small for most of the rigs I see here to fit into. It is a pull-through with electric and water hookup. There isn’t anyone immediately on either end of me and I am back up against a small hillside covered with lots of vegetation that is covered with berries - hackberries, chockberries, wild plums, black berries - and I get to watch the birds going after the berries and listen to them sing their songs.

In the afternoon, it was “party-time on the (sand) bar”. There weren’t very many boaters on the Missouri when I got here, but give them a few hours and it was as busy as a freeway going thru a city. On this side of the River, there are a lot of sandbars and they were lined with boats and the bars were covered with people just having a good ole time. Reminded me of pictures you see of spring breaks in Florida. I went to the Commissary, where they have WiFi, and sent family an e-mail letting them know I am here.

The On-A-Slant Village is located where a Mandan Indian Village was and many of the buildings are reconstructed earthlodges. Will visit there Sunday as well as the Custer House
where he and his wife, Libbie, lived. This was the last home of George. Okay I can’t resist “George was here”. I have run into “George” from west Texas at Fort Davis, and the Hays Ks area where I am from, to northward to here - that man was everywhere. As I remember, I think he was in the Gallup NM area too.

My airborne allergies have been giving me trouble for the first 24 hours after I arrive at a new place and it wasn’t any different here. I have an antihistamine that I take to stop the usual symptoms but I had so many allergens already in me. What happens when the allergens are overpowering me, is that I become sleepy. I had already had a nap after lunch of 90 minutes but after supper I wanted another one, slept for another 90 minutes. In 30 minutes after getting up from the 2nd nap, I had climbed into bed at 8:30 and slept until 7:30 Sunday morning! I felt better Sunday morning.

Sunday, was slow to get moving, took a shower at the trailer as the Park showers are a ways down. Maybe after everybody leaves, wouldn’t mind a regular shower. Monday is going to be a mass exodus around here with lots of diesel engines stinking up the air so have planned to get out of camp. Sunday I toured the On-A-Slant village
which represented how the Mandan Indians lived. They were primarily farmers so were not hostile. “Mandan” is really not a word in any language, but one made up to assimilate what the Americans, that came into the area, heard the Indians saying. It’s origin is from Canadian French Mandane and probably from the Dakota Sioux mawatana. Just like the Missouri River was not the “Missouri” but had more letters in it and became anglicized to Missouri. I also went on top of the plateau where the Infantry of Fort Abraham Lincoln lived within the garrison. Down by the River is where the Calvary men lived. Came away with a sunburn and beautiful views. Didn’t learn much new since I have visited so many forts lately - just that they had a nice view but I bet it was a damn cold place in the winter when the wind blew. Indians were much smarter with their homes covered with clay.

Hallelujah, I finally met the owners of another fiberglass trailer. They own a 2000 Scamp and are from the Newport, Oregon area. She is a member of Casita Club too and one of the very early members, I recall her name - it is Vivian W - on the Club. As soon as I gave her my nickname, she knew right away who I was. She came over later and we visited for a couple of hours and we had a great visit. Her husband is from this area, so she gave me some suggestions of what to see.

One thing she did mention is that North Dakota’s Walmarts do not have pharmacies. A law that the the pharmacist must own a minimum of 51% of the pharmacy is in place in North Dakota. And, since I am getting down pretty low on one med and could order another, will have to make a change of plans and head to the nearest Walmart pharmacy in South Dakota, which is in Aberdeen for me. It’s not much out of my way, and only messes me up here in ND one day. I am so glad she told me that. Am still going into Bismarck to Hobby Lobby to check their ribbons and beads out and do laundry at a Laundromat she told me about that is nearby.

Got the laundry done on Monday . Stopped at Walmart, as it was close by and picked up a few things, and stopped at Hobby Lobby and - again - spent too much, but have beads and ribbons to keep me happy for awhile making those ribbon wind socks. Think am going to make some in Casita colors. Need to get enough made so can sell a few here and there.

So far, a few of the bugs have been tolerable. In NE and SD it was the flies that were pests and so many of them - mosquitos were few. Then I got to Fort A. Lincoln and this must be “Gnat Capitol of the World”! They are awful, just everywhere and it’s hard to open your mouth without getting a mouthful! Now that the Parks is pretty deserted, the flies are becoming pesky as well as the mosquitos.

Tuesday, it was to the Enchanted Highway out west to see the metal sculptures and there will be time to run down to Huff to see the building that intrigued me from the road.
I ended up taking I-94 to Gladstone, stopping at New Salem to see “Salem Sue” and then south on the Enchanted Highway. Vivian had called Monday nite to warn me that the “Old Red Trail” wasn’t really that interesting and there was a section with gravel. I-94 was started in construction in 1952 and finally completed 25 years later. I thinks part of I-94 are around 40 or so years old. I can see (and feel) why ND is redoing a lot of the Interstate!

I really enjoyed driving down the Highway to Regent, beautiful country, there are 7 stops to see the sculptures: 1st is Geese in Flight,
raised in 2001 and in the Guinness World Book of Records as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. 2nd is The Deer Family; 3rd was the Grasshoppers in the Field; 4th Fisherman’s Dream; 5th Pheasants on the Prairie; 6th Teddy Rides Again; and 7th Tin Family.

I went to the little gift shop and bought some post cards and then had two scoops of the moooooooost delicious commercially made ice cream. I had Carmel Kodiak and Strawberry Cheesecake. That ice cream is made by Cass-Clay Creamery out of Fargo ND. It is soooooooooo good. It’s listed as my favorite ice cream under my Unique, etc, etc. Then I went over to the Cafe and had a grilled cheese and french fries. I could have eaten two of the grilled cheeses, they were so good.

I continued by trip back home on ND 21 to ND 6 to Mandan to get gas; and, then headed down to Huff to see the church. It is St. Mary’s Catholic Church built in 1941 and is made of prairie rocks. I am told there is another one in Center to the north, modeled after this one and a bit

bigger. That is a lot of rock gathering. I believe this area is all glacial area and so that would explain the reason for all the rocks that are rounded and the “mounds” of dirt” everywhere. Interesting geography.

We had 5 minutes of rain around 4:30 a.m., but understand storms were much worse north of here. I left one window open thinking it wasn’t going to rain much - Ha, foot of my bed got wet, though not as bad as several years ago down in Texas on the Rio Grande River near Langtry TX. Had 60-mph wind whipped rain that hit during the night and I couldn’t get my windows closed fast enough. There was 6” of rain that fell in something like 4 hours.

Brrrrrr, it was cold Wednesday morning when I got up at 7 a.m. - it was 42 degrees. Had my electric blanket on low during the nite and now glad I did.

PS. Interesting site I encountered at the Commissary:

Stop #8 - Mina Lake State Rec Area, west of Aberdeen SD

Made it to Aberdeen without any problems. Soon as you leave Bismarck, the land becomes flatter, if not flatter than at home. I headed south on US-281 at Jamestown (home town of Louis L’Mour); but,I first stopped for lunch and decided to try a Grizzly Restaurant. They had a nice lunch special of 1/2 french dip and a salad. Both were very good, I really like the salad of romaine lettuce, sliced red grapes, apple chunks, sweetened pecans pieces, topped with crumbled blue cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette. I had a Maui Tea because the pineapple and cranberry juice sounded like a good combination. I should have realized there was more to it than that - sitting on the barside and ordering the tea from the drink list! Da. It was so good tasting, I ordered another to finish off my lunch. Opps, got up after paying and oh la la, it was hard to walk a straight line! I made it to Aberdeen, got my medication and headed to Mina Lake. I had such a hangover by then. I don’t drink much, maybe a wine or two a month, a beer once in a while and a hard liquor drink very seldom. Here I had two.

The lake is a man made lake and surrounded 3/4ths of the way around with homes. US-12 isn’t too far away so there is highway noise; BNSF tracks aren’t too far away, so there is train noise; there is a rock crushing plant (or at least sounds like one) not too far away so there is that noise until 9 p.m. sharp (and starts again at 9 a.m. sharp); and then at 6 p.m. the tornado siren went off (for a test I suppose, cause it sure didn’t mean “get your boat off the water”) and kept going and kept going and the siren was just a 100 ft from where I stayed. It was a noisy State Park. Got a quick glance at the Campground hosts. Was glad to leave.

Stop #9 - Randall State Recreation Area on the Missouri River in southern South Dakota

Only stayed here one night, good clean park and well maintained, but vibes were wrong so left for Niobrara State Park near Niobrara Nebraska. George was here at Fort Randall too.

Today is September 11th. Let us not forget. Finish later this weekend.